Friday, July 23, 2010

Opinion: Court ruling on federal law advances same-sex marriage

by Robert A. Levy

San Jose Mercury News
July 22, 2010

Proponents of a right to gay marriage won a major victory this month in Massachusetts. At issue was a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as the union of a man and woman for purposes of federal law. That provision effectively barred the U.S. government from granting Social Security and certain other benefits to same-sex couples.

In Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, the judge held that the act's divergent treatment of same-sex and heterosexual couples violates the equal protection principles implicit in the Fifth Amendment. The court asked whether Congress had a legitimate basis for treating same-sex couples differently. The unambiguous answer was "No."

How about procreation? No. Infertile persons are permitted to marry even though they cannot procreate. Child rearing? No. Studies show that children do just as well when raised by same-sex parents. Promoting traditional marriage? No. Heterosexual marriages will not be affected by allowing gay marriages. Conserving government resources? No. The Congressional Budget Office found that recognizing same-sex marriages would save money. We would have fewer children in state institutions, lower divorce rates and promiscuity, and increased wealth.